Alternation: a page from my studies

Last time I did a post from my studies the topic was variation in repetition. Alternation is another way to deal repetition. This is something I use to do without even thinking about. But when I learned think about it, it helped me to understand why some design worked or didn’t work. It allowed me to think about a whether to make the alternation pronounced or just a whisper before I stitched.

In this first example I used three different size rectangles. Think of numbering each size box in order of appearance. The pattern is 123332 and repeat.


This is the next alternation. The line size is exactly the same but the direction of the line causes the alternation. The repetition pattern becomes 1234567 repeat.


Here is an alternation based on shape and position.


The first flower and leaf are repeated exactly but in a different position than the first flower and leaf. For the repetition pattern I’ve assigned them 1a and 1b. The next object is a flower without a leaf and is assigned a 2 for the repetition pattern. The pattern then becomes 1a 1b 2 repeat.


Here the alternation deals with texture and position. Rather than explain it, I represented it visually beside the drawing. The position of the number reflects the position of the squares, the square’s texture is indicated by the number itself.

Please remember I’m not an expert in anything I’m presenting here. I’m reviewing a design class I took a couple of years ago as part of my work for this year.


One Response to Alternation: a page from my studies

  1. threadspider says:

    The beauty of mathematics in the work of the embroiderer. Fascinating, Elizabeth. Have you tried designing to the Fibonacci sequence?

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